I have 9000 days left to live.
Well, thereabouts anyway. How did I calculate this? By averaging the ages of death back a couple of generations on either side, factoring in underlying medical conditions, risky behaviour etc etc. It’s not a perfect model. In short, I’m 29 turning 30 in two months, and there’s good money on me kicking up my heels between 60 and 65.
Sure, there’s some things I can do that might change that outcome. But they might not either. Or I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
So the big question is what am I going to do for the next 9000 days? Thinking about this in terms of days rather than years or decades helps to put this sense of purpose into perspective. I reflected on how my hours are currently spent. There are 168 hours in a week. Of these;
- 45 hours (27%) are spent at work
- 56 hours (33%) are spent sleeping (based on 7.5 hours per night)
- 2.5 hours (1.5%) are spent travelling to and from work
- 12 hours (7.1%) are spent doing housework or gardening
- 5 hours (3%) are spent in the gym, walking or in the pool
- 8 hours (4.8%) are spent cooking, eating or preparing food
- 5 hours (3%) are spent socialising – talking on the phone, going out etc
- 4 hours (2.4%) are spent showering, washing hair, getting dressed etc
- 2 hours (1.2%) are spent grocery shopping, clothes shopping or other shopping
The remaining time – around 28 hours (17%) is my free time – to write on my blog, do things like play with HDTV, knitting, run my web development business, do volunteer work, watch television and generally chill out. This seems like a lot, but when you average it out, it’s around 4 hours a day. Is this enough time to do what I really want to do?
This means that the other time percentages need to be changed.
First of all, can I get away with a few minutes less sleep each day? Probably – although nothing too severe otherwise there’s a risk of getting run down, sick and therefore being unable to use that free time. There’s say 3 and a half hours a week back if I sleep seven and a half hours a day rather than eight. What about house work? What a useless waste of time! Get a cleaner in and I get back two hours a week. Awesome. Do I want to cut back on exercise time? Not really. It’s something I need to be doing more of rather than less.
Now, for work. I’m pretty lucky in that it only takes me about fifteen minutes each way to and from work. However the time that would otherwise be spent commuting seems to be going into some reasonably long hours. Is this something I can control. Well, frankly, yes. I reckon if I started to say ‘No’ a bit more often to taking on work that would save me at least 3, maybe 5 hours a week.
Now we’re starting to get somewhere. Already there’s at least 8 and a half hours back for me to do what I want. Average this over 30 years and whammo! 552 days back. I can live with that.
So what other changes will I be making to get the most out of the next 9000 days?
- Spend more time doing things I enjoy doing, and less time doing things I have to do (like housework)
- Spend more time with the people I like and respect, and less time with those I don’t
- Understanding that you never know what is around the corner – and that to get the most out of the time we have left.